Gnomeland The Magic Nuts - Mocomi.com

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Gnomeland The Magic Nuts - Mocomi.com

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Gnomeland The Magic Nuts - Mocomi.com

  1. 1. Stories for Kids http://mocomi.com/fun/stories/ THE MAGIC NUTS BY MRS. MOLESWORTH GNOMELAND F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved.
  2. 2. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS He appeared, sniffed, and sneered, In a fairy pet.—Child Nature. For a moment or two Hildegarde stared down at the little man without speaking. Then her face lighted up again, and she replied— 'I am very sorry, sir, that I can't tell you, for I have no watch and I don't know.' Something like a smile broke over the gnome's countenance. 'All right,' he said, 'you don't know, and you don't pretend you do. And I don't want to know. Here in our country,' and he waved his hand in a lordly fashion, 'we have nothing to do with clocks and watches, and time and hours, and all such fiddle-faddle. We leave that to the poor folk who can't settle things for themselves, but have to be ruled by the sun and the moon, and the stars too, for all I know. Some people up there, where you come from, fancy we make the cuckoo-clocks down F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 1
  3. 3. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS here, but that's all nonsense—we wouldn't waste our time over such rubbish.' 'I thought you said——' began Leonore impulsively. She was getting over her alarm a little by now—'I thought you said you didn't trouble about time,' she was going to have added, but a touch from Hildegarde came, luckily, quickly enough to stop her, and to remind her of the fairy's warning. The gnome did not seem to have heard her; he was unfastening the gates. When he had got them ajar, he stood right in the middle, his head cocked on one side and his feet well apart, and surveyed the children coolly. 'And who sent you?' he said at last. 'The fairy of the spinning-wheel,' Hildegarde replied. 'Humph—I thought as much,' he remarked. 'And what for, if you please?' 'To pay you and your wonderful country a visit, if you will kindly allow us to do so,' Hildegarde answered. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 2
  4. 4. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'That means that I am to——' he cleared his throat and hesitated for a moment, then went on again, 'to tire myself out doing showman; I suppose?' he said rather grumpily. 'I hope not to tire yourself out, sir,' Hildegarde returned in her politest tone. 'We shall give you as little trouble as possible, but we are of course very anxious to see all you will kindly show us.' 'All right,' the gnome replied. 'Enter, children of the upper world, and be welcome,' and he flung open the gates with a flourish, while Hildegarde and Leonore passed through. It had seemed to them as they stood waiting that within the entrance was much the same as outside, but no sooner had they stepped across the boundary, the doors clanging behind them as they did so, than they found everything quite different. They were no longer in a rather narrow passage, but on a broad road, bordered F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 3
  5. 5. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS on each side by magnificent rocks which stretched up so high that they could not see their summit or the roof. The ground was covered with very fine gravel or white silvery sand, firm and pleasant to walk upon, and which glistened like pale pink tinsel in the light. For everywhere was flooded with the soft red or rosy brilliance they had noticed before they entered, though whence it came they could not see. 'Why is the light so red?' asked Leonore, gaining some courage again, though since her last attempt she had not dared to speak. 'We noticed it outside, and we thought perhaps it came from big fires—furnaces you know, or forges—like what blacksmiths have.' The gnome was walking a little in front—at this he turned round. 'And why should we have "big fires," or furnaces, or whatever you call the clumsy things?' he said, fixing his small bright eyes, which gleamed redly themselves, on Leonore. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 4
  6. 6. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'Oh,' said Leonore, dreadfully afraid that he thought her rude, 'because—because—everybody says you make things like—like blacksmiths do—with iron and metal stuffs like that.' 'Indeed,' said the gnome, 'and what then? Do you think we denizens of the under-world are as stupid as your clumsy workmen up above? Wait a bit; you shall soon see for yourselves.' 'You mustn't think Leonore meant to be rude,' said Hildegarde. 'You see we are only children, and we don't understand about wonderfully clever things.' 'Humph,' said the gnome, but he seemed pleased. They had walked some little way by now, and once or twice their guide had stopped at what looked like a narrow passage between the rocks, as if uncertain if he should turn down it or not. Just then they came to another of these passages, and he looked back at the children. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 5
  7. 7. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'Follow me,' he said, 'and you shall see how we work. I am going to show you the manufacturing of the lucky pennies and horse-shoes.' 'What are lucky pennies?' whispered Leonore to Hildegarde. 'I think I have heard of them, but I'm not sure.' 'Never mind,' Hildegarde replied in the same tone. 'The gnomes won't be vexed with us for not knowing things if we are polite and admire their cleverness, and I am sure they are very clever.' Then they followed their guide in silence, which soon, however, came to be broken by the sound of tapping, light sharp tapping, and in another moment or two, there was added to this a whizzing sound, and now and then short clear whistles. But the little girls asked no questions and made no remarks, till suddenly, the passage along which they were walking coming to an end, they found themselves in a very large rock-chamber—the sides of which towered up so high that their tops could not be seen, though everywhere the same clear F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 6
  8. 8. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS rose-coloured light penetrated. The air was fresh and pleasant, though not cold. The gnomes evidently possessed the secret of warming their habitation as well as lighting it! And now were explained the several sounds the children had heard as they approached the 'manufactory' as their guide had called it. For the great room—one would have called it a cave perhaps, except that no cave ever was so lofty—was filled with a crowd of busy workers. MANUFACTURING LUCKY PENNIES. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 7
  9. 9. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS Gnomes of course, some smaller, some a little bigger than the one who was guiding the children, but all as like each other as a lot of Chinese seem to us—and all apparently of the same age. A few were standing, but most were sitting, and in front of each was a small rock-table, on which lay tools of glistening silver. There were tiny hammers which explained the tapping, and little wheels revolving so rapidly that when in motion they could not be seen. And every now and then a gnome lifted a kind of tube or pipe to his mouth, through which he blew with a whistling sound, on to the piece of metal he was working at. None of them spoke; they all seemed absorbed in what they were doing. The guide-gnome signed to the children to come close up to one little earth-man and watch what he was doing. He was beating a round piece of copper with his fairy-like hammer, and blowing upon it between times through his whistling tube. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 8
  10. 10. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'There now,' said the first gnome, speaking at last. 'Is not that better than your scorching furnaces? That tube is a heat-tube—every time he blows through it, it melts, or at least softens the metal, without any fuss or trouble.' 'Really!' exclaimed Hildegarde, 'what a good plan! I wish we had heat-tubes to warm our fingers with in winter.' 'Better not wish for anything of the kind,' replied their guide. 'You up-above people are a long way from such things yet. You'd only burn your fingers off.' 'Thank you,' said Hildegarde respectfully. 'I daresay we should. But will you kindly explain about lucky pennies. Is that one he is making?' 'Yes,' replied the gnome. 'You good, near-sighted people,' and he jerked his thumb upwards, 'don't see the difference. You don't know when you get hold of a lucky penny or not—but a great many are sent up to your world, all the same, and that is why some folk seem to succeed with you and some not. Partly the reason, that is to say, for the holders of lucky pennies must be honest, F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 9
  11. 11. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS otherwise our coins do them more harm than good.' 'How wonderful!' said Leonore. 'But if you make such a great many, where do you send the others to? All our pennies are not lucky pennies.' The gnome screwed up his eyes and looked at her. 'That's all I am at liberty to tell you,' he said. 'There are other worlds besides yours that we know about though you don't,' and Leonore saw that she was not to question him further. 'Perhaps,' she thought to herself, 'there are people in the moon after all, and some of the lucky pennies go there.' The gnome seemed pleased by her respectful manner. He said something in a low voice to the little man they had been watching, who thereupon handed him two bright copper pieces. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 10
  12. 12. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'Here,' he said, 'here is a souvenir for each of you—a real lucky penny. Never part with them except in direst need, which with them in your possession is not likely ever to befall you.' The children were very pleased, and thanked him most politely. 'And now,' he said, 'as we pass on, you may glance at the other side of the manufactory, where we are employed on horse-shoes,' and he crossed between the rows of little men, each at his table, to where several were seated together at a larger one. Hildegarde gave an exclamation of disappointment. 'What are they doing?' she cried. 'Mending old horse-shoes? What ugly things!' 'You foolish child,' said the gnome. 'How little you appreciate our skill! Of course the work they are doing is much more difficult than making pretty things. They are copying old horse-shoes after the clumsy earth fashion. Who would use a F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 11
  13. 13. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS new one for luck, I should like to know, and how little do you people up there think when you pick up an old cast-off horse-shoe, as you think, what it really is, and where it has come from.' Hildegarde felt rather snubbed. It was the first time she had forgotten the fairy's warning. 'How very clever!' she said. 'Yes, indeed,' Leonore agreed. 'I shall always pick up horse-shoes when I see them now. And if you please, Mr. Gnome——' But her sentence was never finished, for just as she had got so far, their guide suddenly clapped his hands. There came a rush of cold air in the children's faces, so sharply, that without knowing it, they both shut their eyes. And when they opened them again, the big chamber and the busy workers had disappeared—they found themselves—still in the under-world, but in quite a different part of it. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 12
  14. 14. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS Here the light was no longer red, but a pale pretty green—a green which did not make things or people look pale and sickly, but only cast a soft radiance, such as one sees in the woods in the early spring. And to add to this impression there was a faint sound of running or trickling water near at hand. Hildegarde and Leonore rubbed their eyes and looked at each other; they almost felt as if they were dreaming. 'Where have we got to?' said Leonore; but as she looked about her a little she saw that they were still surrounded by the high rocks which seemed to be the walls and boundaries of the under-world. 'And how did we get here?' added Hildegarde laughing. 'It felt as if we were blown here.' 'And so you were,' said a voice beside them, and turning, they caught sight of their old friend the gnome again. 'There was no object in tiring you with walking all through our domains—what brought you was one of our little inventions—the F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 13
  15. 15. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS simplest in the world—for those who understand such things,' he added with condescension. 'And if you please where are we, and what are you going to show us now?' they inquired. 'You are at the entrance to our gardens, where I am going to show you our flower designs. You have doubtless never been told how many of your upper-world plants and flowers owe their existence to us.' 'Really!' exclaimed Hildegarde; and then, as a sudden thought struck her, 'oh, I wonder,' she cried, 'if those very, very queer flowers that we see in hot-houses and sometimes in gardens too—what do they call them—or—or—? I wonder if they are invented by your gardeners.' The gnome smiled condescendingly. 'You mean orchids,' he said. 'Ah well, you will soon see for yourselves. And now,' F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 14
  16. 16. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS he went on, 'I must bid you farewell, for the present at any rate, though who knows but that some day you may again visit the under-world. You will meet with no difficulties now. On leaving the gardens you may, if you like, pass through toy-land, and there you will see some of our children. That, I think, must be the limit of your sight-seeing—any more would be too much for you to take in. I have the honour to bid you adieu.' He took off his cap with a flourish, bowing like a master of ceremonies. 'Goodbye, sir, and thank you very much,' said the little girls, but as they said the words, lo and behold the gnome had disappeared! 'That must be another of their inventions,' said Hildegarde, at which they both laughed. All the same, in their hearts they were not quite sure if they were glad or sorry to be left to themselves, though neither liked to say so to the other. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 15
  17. 17. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS They gazed about them. Behind were the rock passages they had grown accustomed to, but looking longer and dimmer, perhaps in contrast with the pale green light which had something more natural and more like the upper world about it. And just in front of them was a curious sort of palisade—or paling—with openings at regular intervals, though too narrow to see anything through, unless one placed one's eyes quite close. And this it was not worth while to do, for another glance showed them a door in the paling, and a bell, of the same pattern as the one at the first entrance, only in silver instead of in bronze or copper. Hildegarde rung it. The door opened almost at once, but no one was to be seen. So they walked in. The change of scene was complete. It was a garden, but a very queer one. Instead of lawns of grass, there were wide spaces covered with fine glittering sand of different shades of green; the paths between were brown, and stooping F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 16
  18. 18. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS closer to examine them the children found that they consisted of very small round pebbles, something like toffee drops, so smooth and yet elastic that they did not hurt the feet at all. But the flower-beds were the oddest of all. They were filled with plants and flowers of the strangest shapes and colours you can—or rather 'cannot'—imagine. And when Leonore put out her hand to touch one, she started in surprise; they were made of fine metal. So far, they had seen no one, but just as they were beginning to wonder which way they should go, and if they were to meet no more of the inhabitants of gnomeland, they saw toddling towards them the very queerest little figure they had ever seen out of a picture-book! It was that of a very very old gnome—'the great-grandfather of all the gnomes surely,' whispered Hildegarde to Leonore. And it was with difficulty they restrained their laughter. Nor was it easier to do so when the little man came closer to them. He was so very comical-looking. But mindful of the fairy's advice, both children kept perfectly grave and greeted the newcomer with a low courtesy. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 17
  19. 19. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'Well,' was all he said, and then stood wrinkling up his face, though you would have thought he could not screw it any higher than it was, and blinking up at them with his funny little eyes. Somehow they did not feel much in awe of him after all. 'Well?' he said again, this time in a more questioning tone of voice. 'If you please,' Hildegarde replied. 'May we walk through your—garden?' She could not help hesitating a little at the last word, for somehow the more she looked at the queer place they were in, the less like a garden it seemed. 'We won't pick any of the flowers.' 'You couldn't if you tried,' said the old gnome. 'Why not?' asked Hildegarde. 'I don't see any gardeners about.' 'They are all at their supper,' he replied. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 18
  20. 20. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'Supper,' replied Hildegarde. 'How early they must have it.' 'We don't know anything about late and early,' he said. 'But young things like them need plenty of food. Why, I don't believe the eldest of them is more than three hundred years old, counting the way you do up in your country.' It was all the children could do not to call out in astonishment; they did not do so, however, fearing it might sound rude. 'Do you count gardening easy work, then, if you put such young gnomes to do it?' Leonore inquired. The gnome nodded—a sort of nod that took in things in general—— 'This kind of gardening—yes,' he replied. 'It's only dusting the plants, and straightening the stems if they are bent, and raking the beds and paths. Designing's a different thing—that takes experience. But you can stroll through if you like, and see for yourselves,' and with another nod, he toddled off again. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 19
  21. 21. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS 'How old must he be,' exclaimed Leonore in an awe-struck tone, 'if he counts hundreds of years nothing! I wonder what he meant by saying we could not pick flowers if we tried.' Hildegarde walked on to where a border of strange blossoms, brilliant in colour and most grotesque in shape, stood in perfect motionlessness. She touched two or three of them gently before she spoke. Then—— 'Leonore,' cried she, 'they're not flowers. They're made of metal.' Leonore sprang forward. 'Oh that's what he meant by saying they needed "dusting" and "straightening,"' she exclaimed. 'Oh, Hildegarde, how queer everything is down here—don't you think we had better go home?' 'Not till we have seen a little more,' said Hildegarde. 'There's nothing to be afraid of. My fairy wouldn't have let us come if there could be anything to hurt F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 20
  22. 22. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS us.' 'No—not exactly that,' said Leonore, 'but it's all so queer.' 'Come along quickly then,' Hildegarde replied. 'I don't care for this garden, if there's nothing really alive and growing in it. But I daresay we will soon get to somewhere else.' And so, before very long, they did. They passed quantities of flower-beds and rows, so dazzling in colour and extraordinary in shape that they felt as if they were looking through some fantastic kaleidoscope. Suddenly a rushing noise made them glance round in the direction whence it came. It was soon explained—a crowd of gnomes were racing towards them; on they came, running, jumping, chattering, and shouting at the top of their voices. 'It's the gardeners,' said Leonore. 'Oh, Hildegarde, I am rather frightened—they might play tricks on us. Do let us get out of their way,' and Hildegarde, to F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 21
  23. 23. GNOMELAND THE MAGIC NUTS confess the truth, was not unwilling to do so. 'Let us run down here,' she said, turning as she spoke, for they were just then passing a side row of high plants which could hide them from view of the approaching crowd. No sooner said than done. They set off running at full speed, scarcely glancing where they were going, the noise behind them lessening as they ran, till it ceased altogether; and breathless, but glad to have escaped the bevy of gnomes, they at last stood still. 'Now,' said Hildegarde, 'let's look about and see where we've got to.' For more interesting the magic nuts and other stories, visit: http://mocomi.com/fun/stories/ THE END DISCLAIMER Mocomi acknowledges that though we try to report accurately, we cannot verify the absolute facts of everything posted. Postings may contain fact, speculation or rumor. We find images from the Web that are believed to belong in the public domain. If any stories or images that appear on the site are in violation of copyright law, please email - mocomi and we will remove the offending information as soon as possible. F UN FOR ME! Design © 2012 Mocomi & Anibrain Digital Technologies Pvt. Ltd. All Rights Reserved. 22

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